Coughing?............................9 Pro and Non-Pro Reining Series................10

Coughing? The time to take action is now!

Prevention of airway problems is

the best way to protect your horse, but when not successful, what is next? Early intervention is paramount

when dealing with the irreversible dis- ease, equine asthma, commonly re- ferred to as heaves, RAO or IAD. Equine asthma starts off with a hyper- sensitivity reaction to particles in the air (e.g., dust, mould). These particles cause inflammation in the airways and restrict airflow. Heaves is now called severe

equine asthma as the horse will strug- gle to breathe even at rest. Heave Line – the heave line de-

velops along the lower edge of the ribcage as the horse has to work harder to breathe, due to inflammation and airway obstruction. The chest muscles must work harder during each breath taken by the horse. If you wait until a heave line ap-

pears, the disease has already pro- gressed to advanced stages. It is important that horse owners

never ignore a cough in their horse. It should be investigated and diagnosed without delay. There is much that can be done on the management side to prevent further damage, as a global paper on equine asthma attests. Intervention is recommended at

the first sign of coughing, and more so if the cough is repetitive or persistent. Triggered by the microscopic particles that cause airway inflammation, com- mon signs of equine asthma include coughing, nasal discharge, exercise in- tolerance and breathing difficulties.

Equine asthma can affect horses at any age in any discipline of riding. Renaud Leguillette, DVM,

DACVIM, Faculty of Veterinary Med- icine, University of Calgary shares his expertise on Equine Asthma. Video clips kindly provided by Boehringer Ingelheim, Equine Guelph’s E-news sponsor

Prevention is key According to Renaud Leguillette,

DVM, DACVIM, Faculty of Veteri- nary Medicine, University of Calgary, feeding horses from a round hay bale can potentially double the risk of de- veloping equine asthma! Horses are picky eaters and do not hesitate to bury their heads deep in the round bale to look for the most desirable hay first. In doing so they inhale all sorts of dust, mould and particulates. Many stabled horses are exposed

to exponentially more inhalable irri- tants than horses kept outside. Pasture board is often the best option for horses suffering from equine asthma – minus the round bales of course. Every precaution to reduce dust in the environment should be taken. Low dust bedding, turning horses out be- fore sweeping, cleaning stalls regu- larly to keep ammonia levels low and clearing out any mould under stall mats are just some of the effective measures that can be taken. Maintain- ing arena footing to minimize dust, making sure the barn is well ventilated and feeding steamed hay and soaked

April Thoroughbred equine benefit

payments now being processed

|TORONTO, April 29, 2021 – Ontario Racing would like to inform Thoroughbred horsepeople that April equine benefit payments for eligible Thoroughbreds are currently being processed. Horsepeople who have horses that qualify for the benefit should begin to see funds deposited into their horseperson accounts during the 3rd and 4th week of May. Enquiries related to the eligibility of horses

able to receive payments under the program should be made to either Sarrah Young at Ontario Racing ( and/or the HBPA ( As a reminder, horsepeople SHOULD NOT

contact the Woodbine Thoroughbred Bookkeeper’s Office regarding payments related to the April equine benefit program at this time. Payment-re- lated enquiries should only be made to Ontario Racing and/or the HBPA as referenced above.

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concentrates are all environmental factors within the farm owner’s con- trol.

More causes and diagnostics If asthma is suspected, the veteri-

- View Part 1 here:

narian will be looking closely at the horse’s environment to determine what is causing the irritation in the lungs. They will be looking at all po- tential causes which could include: dusty environments, smoke inhalation, pollen or other allergens and particles in the pasture or hay. Renaud Leguillette, DVM,

DACVIM, Faculty of Veterinary Med- icine, University of Calgary discusses Equine Asthma diagnosis. Video clips kindly provided by Boehringer Ingel- heim, Equine Guelph’s E-news spon- sor. View Part

2 here: One cannot jump to conclusions

at the first sign of a cough. The vet will need to rule out upper airway dis- eases and bacterial or viral infections. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) is the gold standard diagnostic test for asthma. Corticosteroids administered with or without a bronchodilator may be prescribed to help the horse recover from bouts of equine asthma, but en- vironmental improvement is the key to long-term management. Always bring in the veterinarian to check a horse that repeatedly coughs. It is vital to prevent the debilitating progression of asthma.

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